So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Lincoln AL in order to train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about picking the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Lincoln AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment plus routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Lincoln AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide additional options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Lincoln AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often provided in Lincoln AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often less costly than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just confirm that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech schools near Lincoln AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Lincoln AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Lincoln AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Lincoln AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Lincoln AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Lincoln AL schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Lincoln AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Lincoln X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the appropriate radiology tech school is an important first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Lincoln Alabama.